“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” The opening sentence of Franz Kafka’s story Metamorphosis is one of the most famous in world literature. But the writer himself will always be something of an enigma. Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and spent nearly all his life in the city, dying at just 41 in a sanatorium near Vienna. A Kafka symposium was recently held in the Czech capital and one of the most interesting talks was given by the US-born Canadian academic, Anthony
In the first half of the 20th century the Česká národní budova (Bohemian National Hall) was THE Czech social centre in New York, before later sinking into disrepair. Now the building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is receiving a major facelift, and should again be the pride of Czech New York when it reopens its doors later this year. In this edition of Panorama, we’ll be hearing about the past – and future – of the Česká národní budova.
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.
This Monday, Sir Nicholas Winton, the British stock exchange clerk who quietly saved more than 650 Czech Jewish children from the Holocaust and told no one for more than 50 years, turned 99. In Prague, the occasion was marked by representatives of Czech Railways as well as the Film Academy of Miroslav Ondříček in Písek. Together, they announced an ambitious new project called The Winton Train, which will retrace the route of the original Prague-London kindertransport which saved so many. Young filmmakers, inspired by Mr Winton’s deeds, will be
Meda Mládková is a Czech art collector who spent more than half of her life in exile, mostly in the United States. In 1968 she established a collection of Czech art which she brought to the US from behind the Iron Curtain. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Meda Mládková returned to Czechoslovakia and donated her entire collection to the country. I met Mrs Mládková in her museum on Prague’s Kampa Island and started by asking how she became involved in art collecting in the first place:
One of the earliest recordings from the Czech Radio archives features the voice of Czechoslovakia’s first President, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, talking to a group of Czech children on the occasion of the tenth birthday of Czechoslovakia in October 1928. The president reminds the children of the principle of “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. “Don’t be afraid of water,” he says. “Wash yourselves with gusto, bathe and swim, take exercise in the fresh air and let the sun’s rays warm you.”
This weekend we celebrate what is for all of us here at Vinohradská 12 a rather important birthday. May 18 was the day back in 1923 when Czechoslovakia began its first regular radio broadcasts. To mark the event we shall be bringing you a special programme on Sunday, looking back to those pioneering days. Here is a quick foretaste of what we have in store.
It is exactly 50 years since Czechoslovakia’s great triumph at the world Expo exhibition in Brussels, at which the country won the best pavilion award and many Czech and Slovak artists received special prizes. To recall the Czechoslovak success at Expo 1958, the City Gallery of Prague this week opened an exhibition entitled “Brussels Dream”. It aims to recreate the famous Czechoslovak exhibition with authentic objects from Expo 58. It also reflects the lifestyle of the early 1960s, marked by the rise of popular culture and affected by the so-called
The inhabitants of Studenec, a small Moravian village near Brno, have voted to keep a bronze relief depicting Soviet dictator Josef Stalin on their community’s monument to the victims of the First and Second World Wars. Just over a half of the village’s adult inhabitants turned up to cast their ballots in the local referendum, while a majority of them said they wanted to keep the controversial portrait in its place.